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Cyprus Holidays

As the alleged birthplace of Aphrodite, goddess of beauty, it is no surprise that Cyprus welcomes visitors with a beautiful landscape and coastline. Turquoise waters lap the shores of golden beaches while towns and villages are dotted with ancient churches and mosques as well as imposing castles and forts. The island is split politically in two, with the independent Republic of Cyprus to the south and the north belonging to Turkey. Because of this split, the island offers two very distinct cultures for visitors to enjoy. It is no wonder that Mark Anthony gave this Mediterranean gem to his beloved Cleopatra. Check out holidays to Paphos and holidays to Polis.

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Popular Cyprus Holiday Resorts 2019

Cyprus is one of the most beautiful and diverse places in Europe. With half the island Turkish and the other half Greek, Cyprus is an island with two very distinctive cultures. Despite this the island is very independent, with its own customs and traditions. Now firmly on the tourist radar, Cyprus has grown into a major European holiday destination, with visitors returning year after year to make the most of the warm temperatures, calm shores and pristine beaches.

Cyprus holidays are ideal for those seeking a holiday in the sun with a beautiful setting, lots to do and heaps of culture. Book a cheap Cyprus holiday with lastminute.com now.

The island’s history dates back to the Neolithic period and the archaeological remains that scatter the landscape provide a fascinating insight into Cyprus’s historical past. From Chalcolithic art to traditional Cypriot folk music, the island is a haven for culture vultures. For foodies, this culinary heaven – the birthplace of Halloumi, delicious fried goat’s cheese, is a delight for the taste buds, with local dishes including seafood, courgettes, grilled lamb and almonds.

Things to do in Cyprus

Cyprus holidays are famed for relaxing beach days, soaking up the rays and lazing by the sea. There are plenty of activities, sights and tours around the island that are a bit more adventurous however. The cities of Larnaka and Limassol, on the Greek side, are vibrant hubs with a mixture of historical buildings, modern shops and a buzzing nightlife. Check out the holidays to Ayia Napa. The Troodos Massif is a spectacular forest full of black-pines, vineyards, villages, monasteries and waterfalls. Here nature fans and hikers can make the most of the fantastic Cypriot scenery.

On the Turkish side, life runs at a slower pace. The capital, Lefkosa is home to the old Kyrenia Gate as well as the historical Selimiye mosque, both worth a visit. If a detox is what you are after then try the Buyuk Hammam for a traditional Turkish bath. Towards the northwest of the island is Gazimagusa, an ancient walled city complete with Frankish churches. There are also plenty of sandy beaches in the region, some with excellent snorkelling opportunities.

The climate across the island is much the same and Cyprus are blessed with a long summer season – about eight months – and over 340 days of sunshine each year. The island is also well connected for international flights – and a short flight time from the UK - as well as ferries crossing from Greece.

The outdoor life

The outdoor life in Cyprus is dominated by its beaches. You'll discover windswept stretches ideal for surfing, kiteboarding and sailing and calmer family-friendly beaches perfect for sunbathing and swimming. Away from the coastline are meadows awash with colour when the spring flowers bloom and pine-covered mountains ideal for hiking, horse-riding and even winter skiing. The Cypriot scenery is at its best in the Troödos Massif where Mount Olympus towers over the countryside.

Family-friendly holidays

The main attraction for families visiting Cyprus is, of course, its beaches such as Nissi Beach at Agia Napa. Here soft sand and shallow clear water are perfect for even the youngest of swimmers. St Hilarion Castle on the north coast is said to have been an inspiration for Walt Disney's Snow White's Castle while more adventurous youngsters will want to visit Nicosia's Extreme Park or the Aphrodite Waterpark at Pafos.

Nightlife in Cyprus

While some of Cyprus's larger resorts such as Larnaka and Lemesos have discos and clubs that operate mainly during the peak summer season, much of the nightlife on Cyprus revolves around bars and coffee shops. Beer, ouzo and coffee are drunk widely while Cypriot wines make the perfect accompaniment to traditional island cuisine.

Top Places to visit

Larnaka

Visit Larnaka, the administrative capital of the Republic of Cyprus for a step back in time. Stroll around the narrow streets of the Old Turkish Quarter with its tiny cottages and shuttered windows before visiting Agios Lazaros, a 9th-century church dedicated to Lazarus. Its highly embellished interior is a combination of Catholic and Orthodox iconography.

Lemesos (Limassol)

Lemesos is the second largest town in the Republic of Cyprus and has a more cosmopolitan feel with new developments and historic old quarters merging together. Stroll around the Old Town and Old Port before window shopping for yachts in Lemesos Marina. Then visit the 14th-century Lemesos Castle where Richard the Lionheart is said to have married Berengaria.

Pafos

A visit to Pafos takes you back to the island's ancient history. The Pafos Archaeological Site includes Nea Pafos founded in the 4th-century BC. Its intricate mosaics based on Greek myths can still be seen. Also at Pafos are the Tombs of the Kings, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in an atmospheric desert-like landscape. Although not used for royalty, they tombs gained their name from their grand appearance. A little known site that should also be visited in Pafos is the Sanctuary of Aphrodite with its lovely sea views.

Things to see in Cyprus

Visit Aphrodite's Rock and Beach at Lemesos during the day before returning at night to enjoy a romantic view of the setting sun from the Petra tou Romiou Tourist Pavilion. Lara Beach on the Akamas Peninsula is a quiet destination that not only has pristine sands and crystal-clear waters but is a return nesting site for both green and loggerhead turtles. As well as viewing protected turtle hatcheries in June and July you might also catch a glimpse of monk seals playing off the shoreline.

Beaches

Visit Aphrodite's Rock and Beach at Lemesos during the day before returning at night to enjoy a romantic view of the setting sun from the Petra tou Romiou Tourist Pavilion. Lara Beach on the Akamas Peninsula is a quiet destination that not only has pristine sands and crystal-clear waters but is a return nesting site for both green and loggerhead turtles. As well as viewing protected turtle hatcheries in June and July you might also catch a glimpse of monk seals playing off the shoreline

The Larnaka Salt Lake

Lying just at the edge of the town and flanked by a shrine and mosque is the Larnaka Salt Lake. Once an important source of salt, it is now a nature reserve and a habitat for migratory birds including flamingos and wild ducks. During the summer when the water evaporates, the sun bounces and shimmers off the white crusty salt surface. A birdwatching nature trail meanders along the eastern bank of the lake.

Weather & Climate in Cyprus

Cyprus has a climate that combines the temperate with the Mediterranean, featuring hot humid summers and cool wet winters. Winter also brings enough snow to the mountains in the Troödos range for a short but popular skiing season. Coastal temperatures can reach 35°C during the high season from June to August while spring and summer are cooler, perfect for colourful wildflower displays.
The climate across the island is much the same and Cyprus are blessed with a long summer season – about eight months – and over 340 days of sunshine each year. The island is also well connected for international flights – and a short flight time from the UK - as well as ferries crossing from Greece.

Typical food and gastronomy in Cyprus

As well as being the spiritual home of Halloumi cheese, Cyprus is a culinary delight with influences from Greece, Turkey and the Middle East. Sample local cuisine made from fresh seafood, grilled lamb, almonds and courgettes or if you're undecided about what to choose from the menu, go for tasting dishes of hummus, spicy kebabs, or tasty afelia (pork cooked in red wine). After main courses or with your morning coffee, enjoy almond, pistachio and rose flavoured desserts and cakes as well as traditional rice puddings and sticky baklavas.

Visa and inmigration requirements

UK visitors to both North Cyprus and the Republic of Cyprus need a full passport to enter the country but can stay for up to three months without a visa. A passport is also needed to cross the border between north and south Cyprus.

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